NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The battle lines are drawn on the neutral ground of Orleans Avenue, but trying to save a spot for Endymion with spray paint does not always cut it in Mid-City.
"Typically speaking, nobody really messes with you, but this year is a little different so we're on plan B right now," longtime parade-goer Jim Reineke said.
Someone tried to claim - with spray paint - the spot where Reineke has stood for more than 22 years. On Thursday, he reclaimed it, and this time he is not going anywhere.
"This is crazy," he said. "I've never had to sleep out here two days before Endymion."
The neutral ground looks more like a checkerboard than a field for parade-goers. Some said they marked their territory on Orleans Avenue to catch Endymion early and stay away from areas more prone to crime, especially after the Canal Street shooting in broad daylight Wednesday.
"I can leave my chairs out and they'll be here Saturday morning, but Lee Circle and going toward downtown, we can't do that. It's too dangerous," Jessica Rodriguez said.
The Krewe of Endymion put up signs along Marconi Drive near City Park to let people know that it's changing things up this year. The public will no longer be able to go in the staging area of the parade.
"It's going to be heartbreaking because this is a family area as well, but that is always a family area for people of New Orleans for Endymion," Claire Berger said.
Endymion President Dan Kelly said the krewe decided to keep the public out of the area so the parade can run on time and because the neutral ground is soggy and bands need to stand on solid ground.
"If (Endymion riders) have got something special, they give it to you there in case you miss them when they're going by," spot saver Bill Sims said. "But I can understand that it may be for safety reasons."
The public will still be able to walk along the staging area on the sidewalk side of the street near City Park.
Also, it is against the law in New Orleans to rope off areas on public property.